About IM Impact
My name is Shane Melaugh, I’m the owner of IMImpact.com and here are a few things about me:
- I quit university because I couldn’t face doing something I wasn’t passionate about any longer. I decided to stop forcing it and left to create my own company
- I co-founded SECockpit with Sam Hänni. We took the product from zero to a 7 figure revenue mark in just 15 months.
- I created a product called Backlink Battleplan in 2010 that did over 2,000 sales and brought in over 6 figures revenue – this was my first real successful product in the internet marketing niche.
- I’m the founder of Thrive Themes, a company that produces conversion-focused WordPress themes.
- I am the creator of several software products including Viral Quiz Builder, WP Sharely and Hybrid Connect
- I also sell a number of information products, including Video Marketing Blueprint, Focus & Action and Webinar Eclipse.
My basic philosophy for business and entrepreneurship is to choose your direction and grind it out. Tips, tactics and information can only get you so far – there is simply no substitute for experience. I apply this philosophy to everything I do in life, whether it be dancing salsa or public speaking and it has served me well.
I run IM Impact with Paul McCarthy, a marketer/programmer from the UK. We’re currently living under the same roof in Budapest, Hungary.
What is IM Impact All About?
The foundation of any serious online business is a product or a service. IM Impact is about everything you need to create (and sell) amazing products, services or memberships.
There are three things your online business needs, to thrive – offers, traffic and conversion and these aspects are covered in depth, on this site. We teach you how to make more money, using tools and techniques that we’ve used and tested to give you an edge over your competition.
You know you read about all these entrepreneurial types who started their own car washing business at the age of 5 and were already doing better than most adults by the time they hit adolescence?
Well, that wasn’t like me at all…I’d love to say that any entrepreneurial flair came naturally to me, but in truth it’s been a very bumpy road.
Dropping out of University
9 years ago I left university pretty dejected: for one thing my grades were terrible, but more importantly I was fed up doing something I wasn’t interested in – I simply couldn’t muster up the motivation to continue my studies. So, I went against the advice of everyone, and quit.
And so the Grind Began…
The following few years were nothing short of pure failure. I had jobs working in a warehouse stacking boxes, as a night time security guard and even as a landscape gardener (highlight: I broke my leg when a huge boulder dropped on it… and then lost the job, because of the injury). I needed these jobs to put food on the table, but I spent all my free time trying to create something of my own.
To say I struggled would be an understatement.
One of my failures involved following a passion that is still very much close to me right now – personal development. I started to write a book on some things that had made a positive impact on my life but I didn’t see it through and the book was never released.
Then I tried to find some people to offer my services to free of charge in an attempt to get some clients. That didn’t work out, either. This was one of my first experiences of trying to market my own products. It was a tough pill to swallow. If I couldn’t even find clients to work with me for free what chance did I have of selling things for real money?!
Then I read something somewhere about a dating site that had made a huge amount of money. When I looked at the site I thought: “This site sucks! I can’t believe they’re making so much money. I bet I could do way better than that.”
I brought together a small team of programmers and we got started. No structure, no business plan and no marketing plan – in retrospect I can’t believe I was so naive about the project. No wonder that after a few months and minimal development the team fell apart. Another failed project.
My First Tiny Taste of Progression
Around this time, I started learning how to build computers and couldn’t believe how much money you could save by building your own computer from scratch. It seemed that suppliers were taking a decent margin so I decided to undercut them by starting my own computer building business. This was mainly out of desperation than anything that I really wanted to get into for the long term – I really needed to earn some cash and decided that this was the best way available to me at the time.
I had the technical knowledge and the product was good – consumers could get a better PC at a lower price by coming through me – so why wouldn’t they? Simple answer – they didn’t know about me, and I sucked at marketing.
In the early days I managed to somehow attract a trickle of customers and by offering them an incredibly good service (above and beyond what anyone else was doing at the time) I managed to gain a few more clients through word of mouth and recommendations. But this was nowhere near enough business – I needed a better marketing strategy…
So then I started to use a little known site called Ebay. This really helped me to bring some more business in but I shortly realised that there was a bottleneck: me! It was hugely time consuming to build computers and the profit margins turned out to be quite low. I was slaving away for very little reward. Time for another transition.
Water Cooling for Profit?
I found a niche in the hardware components market of water cooling. It’s not something that you would consider there to be much of a demand for, but strangely enough the niche is actually very active and lots of people are fascinated by water cooling components.
As I gained expertise in this sub-niche, I started writing reviews for an online magazine – this was my first experience of content marketing, although I didn’t realise I was doing content marketing at the time.
After a month or two, I started to take the reviews seriously. I realised that nobody was creating useful tests for water cooling components. The reviews at the time were lazy, at best. A few crummy pictures of a waterblock or other component and some performance numbers based on incredibly unreliable testing procedures.
So, I went crazy. I started to devise the most comprehensive tests that I could come up with. I didn’t get many review samples sent, so I bought as many samples as I could, out of my own pocket. My test setup took up all the space in my tiny office room and the procedures were extremely time consuming, but the end result was the most useful review data in the industry. I even set up a miniature photo “studio” on one end of my desk, to capture the highest quality pictures of the components for the reviews.
Within 6 months, I went from being the “newbie” guy that nobody even knew to a go-to expert on water cooling devices. People sought me out and asked me for advice. This was the first time that I had ever had a group of people in a given niche that were paying attention to me – I had been doing my best marketing yet, and I didn’t even know that I was doing it.
A “Great” Opportunity Came my way – or so it Seemed!
Very shortly after gaining this initial traction, a company approached me to become a reseller of their water cooling equipment. It was an e-commerce store and I would be the Swiss arm of the company being the only reseller in the country. Sounded great to me – I signed up.
Little did I know that this was to be one of my worst decisions to date. The problem wasn’t that the business wasn’t good – it was! The e-commerce store took plenty of orders and the turnover was getting towards mid six figures per year. There was a hungry crowd of buyers chomping at the bit.
The problem was that I had NO CONTROL over the business – every decision I tried to make got stuck in the “chain of command” and never came to fruition. End result: I was sitting on a business that was generating massive revenue, but not enough profit for me to even live on, I knew there were a dozen things I could do to increase profits and I couldn’t do ANY of them. I ended up feeling like I was nothing more than the fall guy – responding to customer complaints and queries, taking blame for things that weren’t my fault and that I couldn’t change. This was not what I signed up for – I needed control.
I needed to do this on my own.
My Jump to Internet Marketing
Then came my first attempt at building my first web site – holy crap that thing was ugly. I started to read about internet marketing and getting involved in the industry. Following a couple of months of nothing but learning and trying to understand the basics of WordPress, SEO and other popular IM practices I built a few niche sites and managed to get them ranked and earning me money. It wasn’t much, but at least it kept me going and it was a proof of concept.
I continued to grow my niche sites and then set up this site IMImpact.com (originally called RichQuickReview – poor branding choice!). My business plan was simple – do exactly what I had done in the water cooling niche but in the internet marketing niche. This industry was crying out for real reviews without the bullshit. I didn’t care about making money through my affiliate links, I just wanted to gain readership. This strategy appeared to resonate with the few readers I had and I started to slowly grow a bit of a following.
I Created my First Free Product
To capture names and email addresses I built a free product on how to set up a WordPress blog. This was my first exposure to digital product creation and it was received well. I then decided to launch another free product about keyword research (the guide is still available today), mainly because all the information on the subject was terrible. The guide was not a viral wonder or anything, but it was received extremely well by those who used it.
Things were looking up. I had scaled my niche sites up so that they were earning me a good income and decided to launch a product in the IM market. This product turned out to be Backlink Battleplan – it took me 6 weeks to create the product and orchestrate my first ever product release. The launch itself wasn’t huge, but made me more money than I’d gotten all at once, ever before. The product also kept selling and growing in popularity. By the time I retired the product almost two years later, it had brought in more than $100,000.
Shortly after the launch of Backlink Battleplan, Sam Haenni contacted me asking for some advice for a product that he had been working on called SECockpit. I took a look – and I liked it. So much so that I offered to become the marketing arm of the company – Sam accepted – and within 15 months that followed the software would go on to bring in more than 7 figures of revenue. This has been the most profitable venture that I’ve ever participated in.
Moving Abroad and Software Development
In my personal life, I decided that I wanted to see a bit of the world and so moved to Romania and later Hungary. I teamed up with Paul McCarthy who is a marketer and programmer. Currently, we’re both living in Budapest, Hungary. Why the move to eastern Europe? Because why not? The new found freedom and location independence is one of the best things this business presents – I am very grateful for this opportunity.
In the meantime I created a number of other information products and launched them privately to my mailing list, but never really orchestrated a full launch like with Backlink Battleplan. Since the back end of 2011 I have been working on a number of projects that are software based – I really like the software model (especially Software as a Service) and have recently launched several WordPress plugins, including Hybrid Connect that to date has sold over 6,000 copies.
And that’s my story so far.
One of the most important reasons why I decided to include my story is that I wanted to highlight just how much and how often I failed before I started to make things happen. It’s something that is commonly forgotten when people talk to me. They assume that I’m something special or that I have a special talent – the thing is this: when I started I was absolutely clueless. I simply managed to grind through the failures and come out the other end – that’s the most important lesson for any entrepreneur to learn.
On this site, I talk about a hybrid between internet marketing (specifically: creating and selling your own products) and personal development (not the fluffy visualise and you will get stuff but the real, actionable and proven stuff that actually works).
And more importantly, what’s the point of it all?
Further up, I introduced you to the concept of The Grind, the one principle I base almost everything in my life on. Everything I am doing right now is part of a grind towards something greater.
Call me an idealist, but my ultimate goal is to make a difference. This human experiment that we are all a part of is simply amazing and I want to contribute something of value to it. I don’t know what form that will take yet. Maybe some kind of charity work, maybe some business or product that will have a huge impact on people’s lives.
Will I be able to achieve such a lofty goal?
I don’t know. What I do know is that I don’t yet have the necessary skills or resources to be able to make a real difference. And that’s why I’m practicing and honing my craft – taking on projects of ever increasing complexity, so that one day, I may be good enough and strong enough to change the world – even if it’s just in a small way.